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Savouring Mozilla Popcorn
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by Dwaraka Nath


Yes. Whenever its Mozilla, its always about making the web 'open' and helping the world realize the true power of it. This is the thing that inspired Mozilla to make the revolutionary Firefox browser to bring cutting edge web technologies to your desktop. Among numerous other things that Mozilla has set an eye on, Popcorn is one 'dish' that you don't want to miss.

Why and What is the Popcorn trying to bring ?

From the day one, when 'www' was up, people have rattled their brains to bring interactivity to the web. First up was tags, hyperlinks, and a litte later came the pictures, audio and then ultimately, after nearly a decade came the video. People had found these improvements amusing for sometime and soon after, the energy fizzed out. Why ? Sure, something was missing. Like the spice element in food.

A little thought will get you the anwer : Where is the real time interaction among all the information in the web and the user ? We have a wealth of resources in web. Just that, its all strewn over. Videos, information, wiki, people profiles. Problem is they are all static. People make it and you see it. There's nothing you can do with it. Its all static with 'no roles for the user to play' in better terms. It doesn't get any better than reading a newspaper or watching a TV. Flash tried to bring a little interaction to web, with animated controls and glittery graphics. It didn't solve the problem though, as it again, is static in the sense that, there was no real time interaction among other objects in the web.

But,come on, its the web for heaven's sake ! Sure, there should be some way to tap its resources. Would it not be better if there is a web content, that unites all the best interactive experiences under one roof—video, audio, social elements—rendering it all with realtime variables like location and weather to spice up ? It would be astonishing, just like watching it in real world. Wouldn't it ? That is the essence of Mozilla's popcorn project– 'Augmenting audio and video with rich online content for creations to live and grow' as how they call it. Well, How ?

Technically, Popcorn project is all javascript. The backbone of it is Popcorn.js – a javascript library that uses all the HTML5 media elements, methods and events to render an API that can be used to bring in realtime information and interaction to the video/audio.

Yeah. I agree. That was a little confusing. Don't get surprised if you scratch your head now, for, I did the same when I read about popcorn.js. A little digging might help.

Think of you to be an event organizer and that you are trying to post a promotional video about David Guetta's live performance in Dubai. Normally, it will just be the video with a backdrop music and other venue locations, ticketing information and the like.

If you choose popcorn.js, this is how your video will be. When video plays, you can tag David Guetta in it, bring up the flickr stream of his pictures, can have his Twitter and Wiki links for viewers to access, add a Soundcloud audio clip of any of his' previous performances, embed youtube/vimeo videos, you can include Google maps links for location information ! Just, how better can it get ?! Should that video of yours, be a movie/film, you can include subtitles as well.

To top it all, you can have weather information. That is like, in the same case above, you can choose to show the scorching heat in Dubai, by having a yellow patch of light to show the 'Sunny' climate there. Get it now ? Blistering Barnacles !

A new addition to the popcorn project is the Popcorn maker, that brings together all the libraries and plugins with a graphical web interface with timeline and other controls, just like any other video editing software, to create popcorn-based videos on the fly. It has hit v0.2 recently and is in alpha stage.

Sounds interesting ? Get involved and contribute ! - http://mozillapopcorn.org/